Updates and New Recipes. . .

Updates on the Boys. . .

The boys are back in Massachusetts in school. Sprat starts his student teaching this semester so look out Yanks you are about to get educated in History with a Southern accent. I hope his teachers and students will not be too hard on him about his Southern drawl. Big T has changed his major and seems to be enjoying his classes so far.

Sprat was going to have his birthday after we took them to school so we decided to celebrate before they went back. We had a nice dinner and we went to a baseball game.

Big T hates having his picture taken by me so he intentionally frowns and makes ugly faces. His Daddy used to do that too when he was younger and still does sometimes. Sprat of course was thrilled to be out having a nice steak.
Uncle C was nice enough to take us out to the ballgame and some hotdogs and hamburgers.

Updates on the Home Front. . .

We had a bumper crop of Figs this year and I could not eat them fast enough. Decided to try my hand and caning, it was not too daunting, and they turned out fabulous. Canned them in three different batches and I did small batches only three pint jars at a time but it worked out great. I used equal part figs and sugar and added one lemon sliced and cooked for two hours before putting them in jars. This recipe did not call for any pectin and I liked that. We also had a great crop of cantaloupe and they were delish.

These are my figs cooking for my preserves

Stay Tuned, Work is a Little Crazy. . ..

Stay tuned, I know it has been awhile since I last posted but work is a little crazy and sleep is about all I do. Trying to get back on track with my eating plan and my exercise plan. I am trying some new recipes that I will be sharing and some new exercises too. Funny thing happens when all you do is eat, sleep, and work; you gain weight. Yuck! Not only do you gain weight but you feel bad too.

If you have these problems stay tuned I am going to try and get a handle on it, maybe you would like to share your story.

Easter Break with the Boys in MA. . .

Spent Easter Break with the boys

Drove up to Massachusetts after working the night before, I slept most of the way. Stopped at the casino at the Mohegan Sun at the Poconos to spend the night. The hubbs and I have not been to a casino since before Big T was born, in fact, Big T came home with us from Vegas. Yep, found I was expecting again only a month after our visit to the City of Bright Lights. We had a blast and the hubbs is one luck devil, he won that night and the next morning at the slots of all things.

The hubbs eating breakfast after his big win

We Did steal the boys away for a quick visit

We saw two good lacrosse games while we were visiting and went to dinner and lunch the next day with the boys. I did have another lobster roll but nothing will ever compare to that first one. Enjoyed chocolate truffles from Chocolate Therapy, these were handmade chocolate truffles that were divine.

My boys at lunch

We headed out to Montpelier, VT. . .

We headed out to Montpelier, VT that afternoon to do a little sight seeing. Stayed at a very quaint little hotel in downtown Montpelier, we parked our car and walked everywhere. Montpelier is the capital of Vermont and is the smallest State capital of any of the US capitals. I loved this little town, I could most definitely live there if it were not so very cold in the winter.

The Capital building across from our hotel
Coming in to Montpelier, VT

We had a day to sight see before the next game.

We had a day to sight see before the next lacrosse game and we drove to Norwich, VT to visit the King Arthur Baking Company. If you like to cook and or bake this is the place to visit. I had the best time shopping and the hubbs did not mind to much. He has told everyone that the Governor of VT was standing outside when we left to shake my hand because I had boosted the local economy. Check out their website http://shop.kingarthurbaking.com there will be more about what I purchased later in another post so stay tuned.

Took a ride to the Morse family maple syrup farm and that was great too. Check out their website to learn more about maple syrup http://morsefarm.com. There is a difference between real maple syrup and some of those brands sold in the stores. Look for 100% maple syrup not maple flavored syrup. We learned that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup
Morse Family Farm Norwich, VT
The inner workings of the maple syrup farm

Last but not least we watched some good Lacrosse

We watched two good games of lacrosse this visit. Sadly, we lost both of them but the team played well. They are a young team and are just getting in their groove together. I see great things for this team in the next few years.

the line up to start the game
Big T in red and white facing off first play of the game against the #1 team in the conference. He won 3 face offs and we scored off one of those wins.
Big T
This is one of my favorite pictures of Sprat whispering words of wisdom in his opponents ear.
One of my favorites of Big T

Stay tuned for updates on our travels and recipes from King Arthur Flour company.

Things I Learned in Boston. . .

Driving that fourteen hours is not easy

Driving fourteen hours in one day is not easy. It would most definitely be bad if you did not like the person you were trapped in the car with. Luckily I was trapped, I mean ridding with my hubby. He drives all the time for work so, he is a pretty good driver and does not tire of it quickly. I did pitch in for the last little bit of the drive home.

The Verve. . .

The Verve was the name of the hotel we stayed in this time. It was 80’s themed and it had some very cool 80’s memorabilia scattered throughout the hotel. There were old arcade games, an old phone booth, motorcycle, art, and 80’s music playing over the PA system in the hotel. There were a set of TV’s mounted to the wall playing 80’s commercials, these were hilarious. The Flintstones advertising Winston cigarettes, if you can believe that.

Pac Man, and yes it worked for .25 cent
My hubby playing Astroids in the lobby
this old telephone booth was in the lobby of the hotel too. It had the Terminator playing on the video screen.

Riding the T/ subway system in Boston is easy. . .

The hubbs and I rode the T into Boston one day while the boys were in class. Parking was easy but trying to buy that Charlie pass was a bear, especially if you do not know what your are doing. We were grateful to a very kind young man that helped us out. We were the country bumpkins come to the big city. Very proud of both the boys for mastering this mode of transportation, I am pretty sure I would not have been able to do it at their age. Once downtown Boston there was much to see. The architecture of the old buildings were beautiful. We walked down to the Aquarium and checked out the harbor.

My Devilishly handsome hubby
The infamous lobster roll, I have been waiting on this one since 2018

Now on to lacrosse. . .

We got to see two good games of lacrosse. They lost the first one but it was still a good game and they won the second game in high fashion. It was great watching this young team come together. I have high hopes that Big T will be off the injured list soon and hopefully get in the game. There are a few on the injured list and I hope they will be back and game ready soon also.

Sprat #55 pole white shirt
My motley crew
Sprat in #55 Burgundy. thankful for local parents to snap these pictures.
I think this one is my favorite of Sprat
Big T on the sidelines due to injury

Wrap up. . .

We had a wonderful time getting to meet the boys’ friends, teammates, and families. So thankful for the local parents taking care of the team. Heading back up for two more games and we hope to see Big T on that field. It would be fabulous to see brother D poles on that field.

I am Grateful and Blessed

Grateful and Thankful

I am grateful and thankful this Christmas season. There are so many things in this world you could be angry at right now but, I am choosing to be thankful and grateful. My boys are home for Christmas and I so glad. They came home for a very short stay at Thanksgiving but, I get them for a month over Christmas.

Updates and News. . .

The thankful and grateful begins with the boys surviving their first semester on the same campus. They had fun and Big T practiced and did conditioning with the team and seems to be doing well for a freshman. Sprat was named one of three team captains for the 2021-2022 lacrosse season and we are very proud. Sprat has a plan for his graduation and will most likely stay for one more year to double major and finish his student teaching. Big T has picked his major as business management with a minor in music. He also spent finals week in quarantine due to COVID. Some might say that is great he had time to focus on finals. It was not good, he is the germa-phobe in the family. He freaked out when he learned he had tested positive and was going to be “locked”down for eleven days. Thankful and grateful they made it through finals.

Looking Forward to 2022

We are looking forward to 2022 in the hopes that we get to go see the boys play lacrosse this year. Sprat did not have a season last year and Big T opted not to play his senior year of high school due to the lack of following COVID protocol among the student athletes. My fingers are crossed that they get a season and the hubbs and I get to go see them play. It would be very sad if the Fall sports got their full season and the Spring sports got canceled due to COVID yet again.

Stay tuned. . . Christmas merriment is about to begin at our house. . .

Road Trip with Big T for College Orientation. . .

Getting Ready. . .

We drove up to Massachusetts to visit the campus and so Big T could participate in orientation. Spent the night in Connecticut so we could get up the next morning and just have an hour to get to the school. The plan was to meet the coach and talk with the folks in financial aid all before orientation began.

Big T in the foyer of College Hall

Orientation. . .

The lacrosse coach is great, we really enjoyed talking with and hearing about his style of coaching and taking care of the players. I was very impressed by him and so was Big T. We had not met him before and had only heard about him through Sprat and Sprat thinks the world of him. Big T is looking forward to getting back on the field again. He did not play his senior year of high school due to the lack of care from the school with regard to COVID 19.

It was a stroke of luck that we were able to talk with financial aid, they found some more money for both boys to add to their already generous scholarships. It pays to go to orientation, in more ways than one. Even though Sprat has been attending this college for two years Big T had never been with us to campus, he always stayed home with the dog. This was his first glimpse of the campus and was able to see the dorm he will be in and meet a few teammates.

The College. . .

Big T cannot wait to get on campus. There is one freshman dorm and only one floor of boys and three floors of girls. Let that sink in for a bit, the boy/girl ratio of this freshman class. This is a small private college so no athletic scholarships but the boys both landed wonderful academic scholarships and I am so very proud of them. Sprat was awarded Academic All Conference two years in a row and we hope for a third.

Big T and I out side of College Hall on the balcony

The Trip Home. . .

We drove to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to the US Army Heritage and Education Center and War College for a visit. The helicopter and tank pictured below are visible from the highway and every time we have passed it my hubby says we need to go there and check that out. This trip, we planned for just that. There is a museum that chronicles the wars from Spanish American War to our current conflicts. Lots of hands on simulators and things in the museum. I tested the parachute simulator, it was pretty cool not as scary as I thought it would be. We sat inside a bunker that was being bombed and it was really LOUD. The trail around the facility has tanks, helicopters, memorials, bunkers and trenches. You cannot climb on the tanks and helicopters but we were allowed in the bunkers and trenches.

this tank is similar to the one that my father-in-law trained on when he was in the military. Check out the website for more information https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu/

The hubbs and Big T checking out the bunker
The hubbs and Big T in the bunker

Conclusion. . .

We rounded out the day with a bite to eat and a trip to the store for supplies for the dorm. I love our road trips and I am looking forward to more this Fall and Spring to see my boys take the field together again. Stay tuned for more pictures of our road trips and tales of the garden and what we are cooking.

Love and the Empty Nest. . .

Since Big T has graduated high school several people have asked, how does it feel to be an empty nester? I was not quite sure how to respond to that since both boys will be back home. True, the hubbs and I will have a few months to ourselves but the boys will be back home. The one benefit of them going to school is our grocery bill will go down. The hubbs and I could live out of the garden with the occasional rice, couscous, or meat here and there.

What will we do . . .

When my sister asked what we were going to do now that we were empty nesters my husband said he was going to run around the house naked. LOL!! I guess things are going to get interesting at my house. The hubbs and I both still work, he is moving closer to retirement, so we will continue normal weekdays but lookout weekends. I would like to do some traveling, nothing out of the country but there are some places I would like to visit in the US. We both have talked about driving cross country, I could see us doing that. We are going to Massachusetts and I am looking forward to that.

Happy Graduation to Big T. . .

Big T and the Hubbs
Brothers

Stay tuned for what happens next in the empty nest. . .

No Longer Mother to High Schoolers. . .

Feeling a little old this week, not because of a birthday or anything, just because my youngest is graduating high school. I am now the mother of two college students and that makes me feel old. When the boys were both in school and i was no longer the mother of preschoolers (MOPS) I was sad. Today I am thrilled!! Big T will be joining his brother in Massachusetts this Fall.

Very Excited for Big T

Big T received an academic scholarship and will be going to Massachusetts to complete his Bachelor of Science in business management and minor in music and playing lacrosse with his brother. I am so excited for Big T, I must toot his horn just a bit. He will be receiving his high school diploma in a few weeks as well as an Associates degree in business management from the community college. He was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society at the community college. This boy has it going on!!

Travel Mama. . .

I can not begin to explain how very happy I am that I will get to see my boys playing lacrosse together again. The hubby and I have plans to go see them play in person this next year if we can get around this whole COVID mess. We had a major weekend planned right when this all hit in April of last year. The plan was to go to Massachusetts to see Sprat play at his home field and then drive to Maine to watch him play. I was so excited, I have never been to Maine before and I was looking forward to watching my son play college lacrosse. Knew I would enjoy the scenery on the drive from Boston to Maine and I could not wait to try the food, the food, can I say that again the food! Have yet to try a lobster roll and I want one! My fingers are crossed that we will be able to make the trip next year for a couple of games.

Lots of work ahead of Big T. . .

Big T has his work cut out for him. He wants to major in business and minor in music. I have shared how he taught himself how to play the Ukulele during the shut down. He has also taught himself how to play the bass and the piano. I know I am the mama but he really is quite good to be self taught. He does love his heavy metal but he has learned at least one hymn on the piano that is beautiful.

Graduation Ahead. . .

The hubby and I were just talking about all the things we have to get for Big T for his dorm room this year. I posted after Sprat’s second year all the stuff we bought and did not need so I feel like I have a good grasp on what we have to pick up but it is still a lot. The school has provided him with a lap top the last four years so that is something he will have to purchase. I learned from Sprat that we will not be purchasing a printer since the college gives the kids access to printers all over campus. We will have to purchase another fridge for Big T’s dorm. He will also need a new book bag, sheets, pillows, laundry bag, shower caddy, towels, and anything else I can think of.

Year in Review . . .

Review of our year 2020, what a doozie it was. Mom recovered, they got a new house and the boys have survived being on lock down for the pandemic.

2020, Let Us Look Back. . .

2020 was a whirl wind of ups and downs for our family. My mom recovering from hip replacement and she and Dad staying in an apartment while the basement of their home was being renovated for one level living. I say renovated I should say gutted and re-built because that is what really happened. My sister, her husband, and my brother worked tirelessly to get everything up to date and code. We moved them back home in November and we celebrated Thanksgiving in the newly renovated basement. Mom and Dad could not be happier in their house and familiar surroundings.

Sprat Came Home. . .

Sprat came home from College in Massachusetts early and his lacrosse season was cut short. A strong finish for the Sophomore year with Academic All Conference award. He continued his College courses from home remotely. He is heading back to Massachusetts in a week to start his Spring semester and fingers are crossed for a lacrosse season.

Family pictures over the Christmas break, this will be Sprat’s Jr year of College picture. Such a handsome devil.

Big T had a Banner Year . . .

Big T had his Junior year lacrosse cut short by the pandemic and he completed his Junior year of school from home. This Senior year has also been a remote year for Big T. We found out that if he completes his course work that he is on track to complete that he will not only have his high school diploma in May but he will also have an Associates degree in business administration from our Community College. We are very proud of him for this huge accomplishment. This is not only big for him but big for us, this will be a savings on his Bachelor’s degree and if he chooses to go for a Masters it will not take as long.

Big T, this will be his Senior portrait since I hated the ones that the school took. How hard is it really to get a decent picture of a kid???

Apparently it is harder than I thought to get that good picture I was hoping for.

The Hubby and I Survived. . .

Finally, the hubbs and I survived being shelter in place for the better part of 2020, with two boys teen and twenty, due to the fact the hubbs company sent him home and my office sent me home and we kept the kids home. Sprat was more angry about being at home than Big T, Big T is of course the hypochondriac of our group and was thrilled to learn he could complete school at home. Sprat was not so happy, he wanted to visit with his friends once he had returned home. We kept them on lock down to start with and then we gradually let them start going out with masks and only to certain places.

Love these goofy boys to the moon and back!!

Would not Have Survived without this Guy. .

Love this guy too! Do not know what I would do without this one.

This guy has been our rock through all of this mess. He has done the shopping, the cooking and even some of the cleaning. He cooks for me when I am working and cannot go up stairs to grab a bite and he brings it to me sometimes with a little special treat. (chocolate) Always making sure I have plenty of caffeine cold in the fridge and will even go out in the worst of weather if I need some.